‘Playful’ Hitting Question

Parent Question: How do I teach my 20 month old daughter not to ‘playfully’ hit my face when I’m holding her sometimes? I tell her no hitting and be gentle with mommy, but she just finds it funny, so I end up putting her down.

Answer: I would say it in a firmer voice than usual and with a straight face, “that hurts,” and put her down the first time and each time. Don’t wait until the second hit or attempt. Later in the day, I would coach how we touch people and practice being gentle. When she does touch nicely, gush a bit. Say, “wow, that was so nice. You touched me in a gentle way!” She is young for much more.

I hope this helps!

Dr. Rene

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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